DISA Joint Service Provider promotes STEM careers with college students
By Nicholas Thomson
Joint Service Provider
August 3, 2022
To provide a gold standard level of service, Defense Information Systems Agency Joint Service Provider constantly looks for ways to leverage new and emerging technology solutions to proactively address customer needs and achieve the organization’s goal to “Enable. Every. Mission.”
As part of the Community Outreach Program, Joint Service Provider also aims to build connections with the next generation of STEM students.
On July 14, the organization hosted a tour of the Pentagon and key Joint Service Provider areas for American University Summer Program in Research and Learning students.
American University Summer Program in Research and Learning students pose for a photo in the Pentagon Briefing Room during a tour July 14. (DISA photo by Joanne Sorrentino)
The program is for students studying STEM fields in advanced mathematics, computer science, statistics, biology and systems engineering at colleges and universities across the country.
The tour gave students the opportunity to witness federal work and demonstrated how each Joint Service Provider area comes together to support customers’ missions.
After entering the building, many of them for the first time, they had questions about the size of the Pentagon, immediately asking, “how many floors is the Pentagon?” before learning that if stood up on its side, the Pentagon would be taller than the empire state building and has 2.5 times more office space.
The tour began with a stop by the first Pentagon room and the 9/11 memorial. At the memorial, students saw the scale of the tragedy and overwhelming response not only from those working in the building but from all over the world.
Visiting Joint Service Provider offices and engaging with leadership was a great way for students to connect what they are learning to every aspect of Joint Service Provider’s work from customer service to network systems architecture.
The group heard from Joint Service Provider Director Navy Rear Adm. Brian Hurley, Vice Director Sajeel Ahmed, and Senior Enlisted Leader Army Sgt. Maj. Rebecca Wilkinson who all stressed there is no one path into the federal government, Department of Defense or Joint Service Provider. Leadership stressed that no matter their area of interest, there is room to grow and learn new skillsets.
Meeting with senior leaders was a new experience for many of the students and they expressed their curiosity about Joint Service Provider. They asked, “What projects are you working on that relate to the work we are doing now?”
Hurley emphasized that the technology and processes behind the Software Defined Network relies on collaboration between technical experts with adaptable problem-solving skills. He noted that their education is more than their area of study, it’s about learning how to think – a valuable asset for when they join the workforce and begin leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence platforms to proactively tackle challenges.
The students made a final stop at Joint Service Provider’s Joint Network Operations Service Center and Voice over Internet Protocol locations which helped them see the sheer size and impact of Joint Service Provider and the dedication of the workforce needed to make the operations successful.
Making the connection for students early is important to the future success of the organization; the students on the tour may very well be the future leaders of Joint Service Provider.
The vast impact of the work done on the Pentagon Reservation was not initially understood by the students, who prior to their conversation with Hurley, asked, “if anyone important has been in the Joint Service Provider Front Office SCIF.”
Having interfaced with Joint Service Provider leadership, students understood the responsibility of Joint Service Provider’s mission and that one day they could be the important people they were asking about.
Bridging the gap between what STEM students are studying and how it can directly lead to positive change with Joint Service Provider is critical to the mission’s long-term success and the broader IT industry’s development. Those currently studying STEM are getting equipped with the tools that will be needed to address the needs of every mission for decades to come.
In addition to enabling every mission within the Pentagon, Joint Service Provider builds relationships with STEM students and the surrounding community, investing in and fostering connections for the future.
Joint Service Provider’s concerted efforts guarantee the next generation is more capable than the last and that the organization will always be able to “Enable. Every. Mission.”
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